Daniel Cormier believes a win at UFC 252 means we will be held in the same sphere and Michael Jordan and Peyton Manning.
The former two-weight World champion vows to retire this weekend after facing Stipe Miocic in their trilogy bout for the UFC heavyweight title.
Cormier believes his exit will be the greatest in MMA history after finishing on top. He likened his potential achievement to all-time sporting greats Michael Jordan and Peyton Manning.
Greatest sports athletes of all time
“In MMA, yes, but I think it puts you right alongside the greatest sports athletes of all time,” Cormier told reporters at the pre-fight press conference as transcribed by MMA Fighting.
“Michael Jordan won with the Bulls when they beat the Jazz. Unfortunately, he came back. I won’t come back.
“Peyton Manning won a Super Bowl in his last season. It would put me in that type of sphere, with some of the greatest athletes that have ever competed across any sport. When I win on Saturday, I will retire that way.”
While Cormier plans to walk away this weekend, it is possible he could be tempted into a comeback.
Cormier feels while most athletes finish their careers following a downturn in fortunes, him finishing on top means young fighters will want to take his place.
“That’s the problem with most athletes,” he said.
“When you do that, you feel like, I’m the best in the world. Most of the guys in my position when they’re talking about being done, they’re down on the prelims somewhere. They’re there for some young guy to beat and elevate their name.
“That’s not me. I’m fighting to be the best in the world. So on Saturday, when I win, I’m the best in the world. But you’ve got to be comfortable walking away as the best in the world, or eventually, you’re going to end up on the prelims for somebody to beat you and build off your name. It’s just the way the game works.”
UFC 252 takes place this Saturday at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas. Daniel Cormier Michael Jordan